Democrats Lead in Top Races in Battleground North Carolina

The margins are slim in the presidential and Senate races

Republican Sen. Richard M. Burr is down by 2 points to Democratic challenger Deborah Ross in a new poll. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Republican Sen. Richard M. Burr is down by 2 points to Democratic challenger Deborah Ross in a new poll. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted October 4, 2016 at 2:05pm

Democrats are winning Senate, gubernatorial and presidential races in the battleground state of North Carolina, a new poll shows. 

In the Senate race which could determine who controls the chamber in the next Congress, Democratic challenger Deborah Ross leads incumbent Republican Sen. Richard M. Burr by 2 points, 46 percent to 44 percent, according to a new Bloomberg Politics poll of likely voters.

Ross, a former state legislator, does better with voters under age 35 (among whom she holds a 27-point advantage), and nonwhite voters (with a 44-point advantage).

Burr, currently in his second term, has a 15-point lead with voters over age 65, a 15-point lead with white voters, and a 23-point lead among evangelicals. 

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The race is rated Tilts Republican by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call. The latest RealClearPolitics average of recent polls gives Ross a lead of just over a single point. 

In the race for governor, Democrat Roy Cooper leads incumbent GOP Gov. Pat McCrory by 6 points, 50 percent to 44 percent. 

The poll found Cooper, the state’s attorney general, has an advantage among women, nonwhite and young voters. He is seen favorably by 45 percent of voters and unfavorably by 35 percent. McCrory is seen favorably by 49 percent and unfavorably by 44 percent.

The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the race a Tossup.

The presidential race is the closest of the three, with only one point separating Democrat Hillary Clinton at 46 percent from Republican Donald Trump at 45 percent in a two-way contest. 

“It’s hard to imagine a battleground state where things could be much closer, both in the overall horse-race number and in the underlying party ideology of the voters,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer, who oversaw the survey. “This is the kind of situation where third-party candidates could tip the balance.”

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The poll found Clinton receives 88 percent of the African-American vote, but that’s lower than the 96 percent that President Barack Obama received in 2012. Obama won the Tar Heel State in 2008 but lost it four years later to Mitt Romney. 

Trump has a 51-point advantage among white men without a college degree, a 28-point edge with rural dwellers and a 24-point lead among evangelical Christians. 

The poll also found Clinton with a 67-point advantage with nonwhite voters, a 39-point lead among city dwellers, a 37 point lead among those under 35, a 17-point lead with women, and a 13-point lead among voters with a college degree.

Like the governor’s contest, North Carolina, with its 15 electoral votes, is rated Tossup in the presidential race.

The poll was conducted by Iowa-based Selzer & Co. It interviewed 805 likely voters from Sept 29 through Oct. 2 and had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.